[Hotel Guest Communication Tips] How to Engage Guests + Build Relationships
Communicating effectively with your guests — from the moment they book a room at your property until the minute they depart — is key to developing long-lasting relationships. However, in order to create meaningful connections with your guests, you need to engage with them in a way that extends beyond being polite and professional.
The Benefits of Interacting With Your Guests
When you and your hotel staff interact with your guests and engage with them on a personal level, you’ll likely find that making this intentional shift has a big impact. Here are just a few of the benefits of going beyond standard communication to build real relationships with your guests:
Your guests will feel more connected to you. They’ll see your brand as less of a business and more as a team of real people who are working to offer truly great experience.
You’ll develop stronger connections with your guests that extend beyond their stay. They are more likely to stay with you again and recommend your property to their family and friends.
Your team will receive genuine, thoughtful feedback. Creating relationships with your guests invites them to feel more comfortable being open and honest, giving you critical insight into how to continuously provide a stellar guest experience.
How to Improve Hotel Guest Communication
If you haven’t specifically focused on this area of your business before, it might take some time to train your front desk team (and beyond!) and get them comfortable with this new initiative. Share the benefits above with your team, so they understand why it’s so valuable. And then follow these simple steps can help improve overall guest interactions in your hotel or inn:
1. Connect With Your Guests Before They Arrive
The best way to begin building a positive relationship with your guests is to communicate with them prior to their arrival. Make sure your booking process (whether they reserve online or over the phone!) includes asking guests key questions about preferences, estimate check-in time, and their reason for stay.
Set up automatic emails and text messaging in order to prep your guests for their stay, provide important information about arrival, and learn more about their goals for their upcoming trip. This will help your guests feel as if you and your staff are excited to host them and truly care about providing a great experience before they arrive. It can help them feel relaxed and at ease when they check in, too.
2. Learn About Your Guests and Add Personal Touches at Check-In
Now that you’ve collected all that great info during the booking process, use it to create a more personal experience during arrival. For example, if you are welcoming a family with three young children to your bed & breakfast, you might have a small gift for each waiting in the room. If you know you have a couple arriving to celebrate an anniversary, leave a handwritten card and a small box of chocolates.
You can also use this time to confirm information and offer extra accommodations, if possible. If you have a small group in town for an event, you could ask what time they’ll be heading out in the morning and offer a bagged breakfast or coffee to-go.
3. Encourage Genuine Small Talk With Hotel Guests
You’re probably pretty familiar with the common reasons why guests choose to stay at an independent boutique hotel or luxury inn like yours, over a chain property; things like unique and diverse accommodations, more authentic and local connections, and more personalized service.
Because of these, you and your staff members should treat your guests as, well, guests, and not just customers that made a purchase. It might sound silly, but make sure that you train your staff on how to start a conversation with a hotel guest. Here are a few conversation starters that can help increase engagement:
Where are you visiting from?
What brings you to our town?
Did you hear about X (new shop, restaurant, art exhibit, current event, etc.)?
Have you tried our (featured food/drink, spa service, etc.)?
Keep a list of upcoming events and new businesses easily accessible to your staff to make this easy to do!
4. Provide Multiple Communication Channels
In addition to chatting with your guests in person during their stay, you also need to make sure that you and your staff members are accessible. Modern travelers prefer instant communication, so even if you have a smaller hotel or bed & breakfast, it's important to have technology at your property that simplifies communication for your guests.
Almost everyone can send and receive text messages at this point, so providing a way for guests to text your staff members when they have a question or a request can be really convenient for everyone involved. Consider a software that integrates seamlessly with your property management system, making it really easy to manage from a computer or cell phone.
5. Solicit Feedback From Your Guests After Their Stay
Your relationship with your guests does not end when they check out from their rooms. You should continue to stay in touch with them to help build brand visibility and loyalty. One of the best ways to remain in contact with your guests is to send them a post-stay survey. This approach allows you to generate feedback from your guests and gives you an opportunity to improve the experience at your small hotel.
Another option we love is to actually ask your guests for a review. Reviews are invaluable in our industry when they’re shared on sites like Google and Tripadvisor. So, we recommend emailing your guests right after they check-out (use those automated emails we mentioned earlier!) to ask them for a 5-star review. Tell them their excellent rating matters! And let them know that if they can’t give their stay 5 stars, you’d love it if they reply so you can help make things right. We’ve actually got an entire article just about getting more guest reviews if you need more tips!
Technology to Streamline Communications and Personalize the Guest Experience
You begin building a relationship with your guests immediately upon booking, which is why having the right technology available to streamline communications and personalize the guest experience is a game-changer. ThinkReservations is a property management system designed with small hotels and boutique properties in mind, giving you the the tools and automation you need, while still offering your guests the authentic experience that they crave. For more information about how ThinkReservations can help you improve guest communication, sign up for your free demo today or schedule a quick 15-minute call with a member of our team!
We look forward to helping you discover new ways to grow your business!
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